Research in Russian Studies

Russian in Modern Languages has close links with the Centre for Russian and East European Studies.

Together with our colleagues in CREES we conduct a wide-range of funded research, from Russian modernist and postmodernist literature, the role of new media – such as social media internet and blogging in Russia and beyond, to ethnographic work on identity, class and consumption after socialism.

Recent and current research themes and projects in Russian Studies are:

  • New Media – Blogging, Internet Social Media. In 2009-10 two linked CEELBAS-funded one-day workshops were organised under the umbrella New Media in New Europe-Asia. Papers from this workshop will comprise a Special Journal Issue in Europe-Asia Studies in 2012.
  • Genre in Contemporary Russian Culture - A one-day CEELBAS-funded workshop took place at the CREES in June 2011. Papers from this workshop will comprise a Special Journal Issue. Subsequently Natalia Rulyova won an AHRC Grant (£32000) for a Genre Studies Research Network, which aims to promote Genre Studies as a new priority area for cooperation across disciplines via a series of six workshops on theory of genre, genre and gender, genre and translation, genre and new technologies, genre and representation, and genre and communication between September 2012 and June 2013.. 
  • Ethnographies of Post-Socialism - Jeremy Morris won a British Academy Small Grant (£7000) 2010-11, to evaluate both the transformative power of neoliberalism on the public and private identities of Russian workers and theorise this experience within the context of post-socialism and globalisation. This project involved 6-months of fieldwork in Russia.
  • Imagining Development: A Multidisciplinary and Multilevel Analysis of Development Policies and their Effect in the Post-socialist World:  €256,000 European Commission Marie Curie International Research Staff Exchange Scheme 2013-2016. Jeremy Morris is acting as the University of Birmingham representative for this major project. Partners comprise Tallinn University; University of Latvia; University of Fribourg; Renmin University; Guangzhu University of Foreign Studies; Moscow Higher School of Economics; Tbilisi State University.

Research students

We welcome applications from prospective PhD students who wish to pursue doctoral research in any area of Russian Studies. Current PhD topics supervised in Russian Studies:

  • Russian Soft Power in Contemporary Ukraine – research focuses on Russian initiatives to employ ‘soft power’ (media, educational initiatives, cultural centres, diaspora organisations and public diplomacy) in order to maintain and foster a sense of identification with Russia among the people of Ukraine, which is a very pertinent case study due to a number of topical political, cultural and geostrategic issues, particularly regarding the Crimea region.
  • Orphan Care and Imprisonment in the Russian Federation – this research will bring together the sub-disciplines of Children’s Geographies and Geographies of Health and Care to examine the ways in which orphaned children display agency within these spaces of institutional care, and the ways in which these spaces are socially and culturally constructed by the adults providing the care and the children as recipients of that care.
  • Art Collecting as Politics – the image of the Russian Art Collector in the Post-Communist Era.
  • Russian Communities’ Social Resilience to Modern Industrial Risks – interdisciplinary empirical social research is required to describe and explain Russian responses (resilience) to industrial risks in the context of post-socialist change.  This will determine how Russian attitudes and behaviour can be situated in existing sociologies of risk and to whether these theories require re-evaluation to encompass a wider variety of reflexive experience to modernity.